Why did you leave your traditional practice?
In 2012, after 7 years of practicing in a conventional, western-minded family practice setting at Garza County Health Clinic in Post, TX where I was the only doctor in the county, God started a process of renewing my mind, in all aspects of life from religion, to education of our kids, and in my chosen profession of medicine. I started to understand that the body was designed perfectly, like a well engineered machine. This beautifully designed human body should function normally all the days of our lives if it is given all it was intended to have and avoid all it wasn’t intended to be exposed to. It may sound strange but I started to really believe the body can heal itself if given the right environment. Then I actually witnessed that happen in a handful of my sickest patients in Post. Once I witnessed that with my own eyes I couldn’t go back to only practicing symptom-management, one-pill-for-every-ill type of medicine. Here at Veritas we can still do that type of cookbook, protocol medicine but I felt morally and ethically obligated to OFFER both options: treat the root cause and eliminate disease or treat symptoms with pharmaceuticals. Most patients started choosing to treat root causes. This takes 1-2 hours per visit to do. In today’s healthcare (or sickcare) system doctor’s can only spend about 7 minutes per patient visit. So, in order to benefit my patients, I had to leave that sickcare model.
Click here to read more about my story…
Do you take insurance?
No. The type of practice I have now, focusing on eliminating disease rather than simply managing symptoms, requires myself or our practitioners to spend from one to two hours per patient visit. At this rate, we are only able to see four to five patients a day per practitioner. But, if insurance were involved, each practitioner would be forced to see thirty to forty patients a day. In my experience with insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid, these third-party payers actually end up paying so little, and there is so much bureaucratic red tape along with so many administrative hoops to jump through, a staff of six to eight people would be needed just to deal with all the paper work. To maintain an office staff of that size, I would be back to seeing a patient every eight minutes, something I am no longer willing to do.
Where are you located?
Our office is located at 1802 East 50th, St. #104, Lubbock, TX. This is at the intersection of Martin Luther King and East 50th St. (east side of the interstate) in the Southeast Lubbock Business and Industrial Park. Look for the large manufacturing building with “VTS” on the front.
What is integrative or functional medicine?
Integrative and functional medicine is a new and rapidly growing area of medicine that seeks to approach sickness and disease from a different viewpoint than a traditional “one symptom, one drug” paradigm. I call this model the “do what’s best for the patient” model. In integrative medicine, the physician expands beyond the narrow drug/surgery approach taught in western medical schools, utilizing various treatment modalities that have been proven effective. Its goal is to address the root cause of sicknesses and diseases, rather than manage symptoms.
Also, read this article from my colleague, Frank Shallenberger: “Why We Can Cure Problems That Conventional Medicine Can’t.”
Or watch Dr. Mark Hyman in his 2010 TEDMED video: Mark Hyman TEDMED 2010
Does Veritas treat “fill in the blank” disease and what are your success rates?
We will often be asked if we treat “x, y, or z” disease and inquire about how successful we are with that particular disease. We have seen patients with just about every disease in the book and have seen just about every disease improve or go into remission but have also seen almost every disease not improve, too! This is because almost all disease we see in America are just manifestations of inflammation and the inflammation in a person’s body is the result of biochemical processes that are out of balance. The body simply can’t work right at a cellular level when all the thousands of chemical reactions going on each second in all 70 trillion cells of our body aren’t working right. The dysfunction in a cell leads to dysfunction in tissues which leads to dysfunction of an organ which leads to symptoms we call disease. There is a whole host of things that cause a biochemical imbalance in our cells and although there are many similarities there is also quite a bit of uniqueness to each person’s imbalance. So, it is kind of like asking us “how many scoops of dirt will it take to fill in this hole?” Well, it depends on how wide and deep the hole is! We have seen patients with Ulcerative Colitis become symptom free in just a couple of weeks, we’ve seen it take 2 years and we’ve seen patients never have any improvement at all. I can probably say that for almost every diagnosis out there. Furthermore, the things the first patient with Ulcerative Colitis did to get better can be implemented by the next person with Ulcerative Colitis and that person may only get 50% better or not get better at all. It isn’t about a particular protocol or supplement for each disease. It is about teaching the patient how to fill their body up with nutrient dense food, supplement wherever they are very depleted and can’t replenish through food alone, and start to make lifestyle choices that will bring their stress levels down. A body that is nutrient depleted and under stress CANNOT perform optimally at both the cellular level and the full body level. But, everyone’s stressors are different and nutrient “gas tanks” are at varying stages of empty. Stress depletes the nutrient gas tanks, a good diet fills them up. Both must be worked on aggressively.
The western medical mindset (both patient and doctor) leans more towards the thought process that these “diseases” just kind of fall out of the sky onto the unlucky person or that they are all genetic and therefore nothing much we can do but try and manage the symptoms. While the research is clear that almost all western disease (including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, etc) are 80-95% diet and lifestyle related, not genetic, most doctors and patients don’t look at it from that point of view. When someone stays in the western medicine mindset, then symptom management mode makes us think it’s all about what pill (or supplement) can help me feel better the most. It will cause us to ask questions like: “Do most people with my particular disease feel better on a particular pill, supplement, or protocol of some sort?” Or, “give me some percentages or success rates, etc.”
I understand that most people don’t want to invest their hard earned money unless they have a pretty good idea that their investment will yield fruit. So, I would encourage you to spend some time perusing our website, watching the teaching videos under the “resource” tab and then “teachings”, listen to the radio shows, etc to get educated and convinced that the western medical mindset is at best incomplete. Once you can connect the dots and understand that diet and lifestyle are HUGELY important in prevention and treatment of disease then you’ll only want to see a medical provider who understands and implements this philosophy too, regardless of success rates. Giving the body what it needs and avoiding what it doesn’t by implementing the Veritas 4 Pillars is simply a very beneficial way to steward your health, period, and let the disease-chips fall where they may! If you fully implement the 4 Pillars and are no better at all, then you are right where you were the day you walked in, suffering and taking pharmaceuticals to try and ease that suffering. However, it has been our experience that the 4 Pillars will typically lead to some if not much or even complete relief of symptoms we call disease.
One caveat, people that are born with a truly genetic disorder with a deletion or abnormal gene, such as with cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Down syndrome, etc obviously will have that genetic disorder for the entirety of their life. However, in those rare situations, it is all that more important to give the body what it needs and avoid what it doesn’t in order to optimize every other part of life and health that person is able to. Give the body every opportunity to function as normally as possible with the genes and body parts that are fully functional. There may also be some different integrative techniques at our disposal that could benefit the symptomatic treatment of various genetic diseases.
Will you try to put me on a special diet and a lot of supplements?
I tell my patients that I never want them to take ANYTHING a doctor recommends without knowing the reason behind it. That goes for diet, too. The truth is, the diet that most people are already on, the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), is one of the deadliest diet mankind has ever known. It is causing more cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart attack (and just about every other degenerative disease) than any other diet known to man. We will teach you the WHY behind the need for dietary changes and then it will be your choice whether to continue eating dead, disease-causing “food-like substances” or you can begin eating more real food that God made for the building and maintenance of the body. We will also teach you what health-building substances your body requires in order to function optimally and how to get these nutrients in as natural a form as possible, first through diet, and then through carefully selected supplements as needed. In an ideal world, supplementation would be unnecessary, but because of modern farming techniques, mineral depletion of the soil, contemporary cooking techniques, and other factors, virtually everyone needs some targeted nutritional supplementation.
Can you write prescriptions and will you stop all my medications?
Yes, we can and do write prescriptions. There is a time and place for pharmaceuticals especially if a patient’s can’t or won’t address root causes of disease. But, typically if people start to address the diet and lifestyle issues that are the cause of 95% of cancer, 85% of heart disease, and most western disease in general, according to the published medical literature, then the need for medications goes away. We would never advise stopping any medications unless there was no longer a need for them or if there was a side effect that was more harmful than any benefit you were receiving. For example, once blood pressure and blood sugar are normal, then we stop the high blood pressure and diabetes medications! When you don’t have reflux any longer then you don’t need Nexium any longer!
Do you do IV therapy like IV Vitamin C?
Yes, we offer vitamin C IVs along with many other vitamin drips such as immune boost, stress and metabolic IV. We also offer Myer’s cocktail vitamin IV’s along with just simple fluid replacement (i.e. saline). Also, we perform Major Autohemotherapy with ozone, Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation, intravenous light therapy (UVLrx.com), and Platelet Rich Plasma injections and other cutting edge technical procedures. However, even more than these proven and effective integrative medicine treatments we strongly recommend patients learn and implement the Veritas Four Pillars of Nutrition, Hydration, Movement and Peace. In some respects the IV treatments can still just be treating a symptom instead of addressing the root cause of the problem. We don’t want to just switch out pharmacuticals, radiation and surgery with supplements, IV’s and detox’s to treat the smoke from a fire but rather put out the fire! We believe that most diseases Americans are diagnosed with are directly related to diet and lifestyle; therefore, diet and lifestyle changes must occur in order to fully heal. These IV’s can be a temporary help but ultimately they are not the fix.
Will I see a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant instead of Dr. Edwards?
In a Direct Primary Care (DPC) clinic model like Veritas Medical, one provider can only see 600 patients. So, Dr. Edwards would have had to close the practice to new patients in 2012 but instead he decided to keep the clinic open and help train other providers to do what he does. And, really, it isn’t about the doctor having all the answers, your body has the miracle cure already programmed into it! The practioner needs to simply help you identify what parts of your diet and lifestyle are hampering your body from being able to do what it naturally wants to do, which is heal itself. We do implement the team approach at Veritas Medical by utilizing the God-given talents of variety of different people at our clinic to meet your needs. First, you’ll meet with our New Patient Coordinator to help explain to you more about what we do, then at your second visit a Nurse Practioner or Physicain Assistant will see you, you’ll also meet your Clinical Assistant who will be your go-to person for all your personal medical questions and works closely with your practioner, plus we have other people in the movement, kitchen and education departments that can visit with you too. Dr. Edwards has a weekly meeting with the practioners to review interesting or tough cases and is also available in person or by phone when the practioners have a question.
Why are you a “members only” clinic and require a 12 month commitment?
We are trying to build a community of like-minded people who understand and value functional medicine, getting to the root of a problem and fixing it instead of managing symptoms. A community of people who understand they will be spending hard earned dollars in either sickcare or wellness care somewhere so why not spend it at a place that can teach you how to stay healthy and avoid the expensive sick care system. There are expensive consequences of treating symptoms only. We are also trying to build a new and unique healthcare delivery model that can serve all socio-economic levels. It requires a lot of resources to provide all the support patients need to get educated on how to get well and maintain wellness. Patients need the Veritas Kitchen, Education, Garden, and Movement information and support to stay healthy and eventually NOT NEED Veritas Medical much (once a year is the goal). In order to provide all that people need to stay well, our model requires a committed membership base. Without that commitment we would have to charge a high dollar amount such as $500 per visit like most other cash-only Functional Medicine clinics. If you were to explore clinics like ours around the country you would find $5,000 a year to be an average cost as opposed to our $1,020 annually. So keep in mind, that 12 month commitment covers the cost of all the services of Veritas Kitchen, Veritas Education, Veritas Movement and Veritas Garden, that you, as a patient should be utilizing on at least a weekly basis, and which are integral in getting our members healthy and keeping them that way.
How can people afford to go to Veritas Medical?
Once people get educated and connect the dots on what really causes disease (mitochondrial inflammation from diet and lifestyle habits, according to the latest research) then they tend to re-prioritize their life in general, including their spending habits, in order to be able to have access to a clinic that understands diet and lifestyle. Americans have gotten used to having someone else pay for their “healthcare” but it turns out that system of “healthcare” didn’t provide much health. So, now that everyone is sick and there aren’t enough well people paying in to cover all the sick people, we are all being asked to pay more through higher deductibles, co-pays and premiums with fewer and fewer services covered.
From a practical standpoint, we recommend you look at where your healthcare dollars are currently being spent and find out how to invest those more wisely. Would you keep investing in a company that consistently performs DEAD LAST in all categories but all the employees keep getting raises every year? It is time to stop pouring money into the failing system, then you’ll have some left over to invest in a better system! We pay $85 a month (or more) for car insurance but never expect to use it except for catastrophes! We have to shift our thinking that way about our healthcare dollars, too. How much are you currently paying into a health insurance plan? Will your employer let you opt out of that? Alternatives to traditional health insurance exist, tend to cost half as much and will in, some cases, cover functional and integrative medicine. Here’s a video that Dr. Edwards did comparing his BlueCross Bluesheild plan to his new “health sharing” plan (hint he saved enough money the fist 2 months just in monthly premium cost to cover his Veritas membership for a year!
Even if you can’t get out of your high dollar health insurance we would recommend you strongly consider re-prioritizing your spending. Many people pay more than $85 a month for cable tv or cell phones or Internet or coffee! It is a matter of deciding what you value and what you want to invest in.
What can I expect as the ultimate outcome if I sign up as a member of Veritas Medical?
In a nutshell, a much better quality of life and fewer dollars spent on healthcare in the long term.
We can say this confidently because we have seen it happen in thousands of patients AND the medical literature is clear that diet and lifestyle (which is what we focus on changing) is at the root of almost all western disease including the top two killers of Amercians, heart disease and cancer. So, ultimately your outcomes are very much tied to how well you are able to implement and sustain your diet and lifestyle changes. Our goal is to educate you so you understand why you need to make changes, then support you and give you the resources and tools to make the changes, and then build a community of like-minded people to make it easier for you to sustain your new way of living. Healthier people are more productive, need the expensive “sick-care” system called the US Healthcare System less and less, and hopefully can eventually opt out of their conventional and expensive health insurance and go with a HealthShare ministry like libertyhealthshare.org.
How can I find an Integrative or Functional Medicine doctor in my town?
You can search on some of the integrative/functional medicine organization websites like:
Or, you can just do an internet search for “Functional medicine” and the name of your town. Alternatively, we have many members who travel to Lubbock once a year to see us and then do all their follow-up visits via our Online Convenience Care service utilizing Facetime and Skype.